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06th Jun 2024

D-Day veteran, 98, refuses to glorify war and says it is ‘a waste of time’

Charlie Herbert

D-Day veteran

‘I think, once again, what a waste of time war is’

A D-Day veteran has said he would like the children of today to know that “war is not exciting” and “doesn’t achieve much in the end.”

Today (June 6) marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when 160,000 Allied forces troops launched an assault on the northern beaches of Nazi-occupied France.

Stan Mincher, 98, was just 18-years-old when he took part in the landings as part of the operation on Juno Beach as second in command on Landing Craft LCT1008.

D-Day veteran, 98, refuses to glorify war and says it is ‘a waste of time’

Speaking to Nick Robinson on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mincher was asked about what he thought was the “right way” to reflect on D-Day.

“Is it a celebration, is it a commemoration, or do you still look back on it with a heavy heart?” Robinson asked.

The veteran said that, whilst he doesn’t look back with a “heavy heart”, he does “think, once again, what a waste of time war is.”

He continued: “Most of my friends who died were a year or two older [than me].

“My brother died, my scout master died, a lot of my school friends died – there was a generation that was badly hit. My generation, a year or two later, was hit, but not that bad.”

Mincher said it was vital that we continue to remember events such as D-Day and the service of veterans, adding that “today’s children really don’t understand” what happened during the world wars or their enormity.

He explained that he would like the children of today to know that “war is not exciting, it doesn’t achieve much in the end, there’s no need for it and it can be avoided.”

Robinson then asked Mincher if he thought present-day young people would serve their country in the same way younger generations did during the First and Second World Wars.

But the veteran had no doubt that the youth of today would do their duty if necessary.

“I think they would make the [same] sacrifice as many before them,” he said.

“I have no reason to believe that the present generation is really any different from our generation.”

The Normandy landings took place on June 6, 1944, and were the largest seaborne invasion in military history.

The invasion was given the codename Operation Overlord and proved to be the crucial turning point of World War Two, starting the liberation of France, and ultimately Europe, from the Nazis.

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Topics:

D-Day,WW2